We spent an amazing afternoon this past Saturday visiting Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary – a farm animal sanctuary located just west of San Antonio. This is the largest sanctuary in Texas that rescues farm animals and owner Brooke Chavez has been giving selflessly for over ten years.
We have been wanting to visit since we got to San Antonio last year but with the baby, we just had not made it happen. This weekend we went there for a vegan potluck hosted by San Antonio Vegans. I left baby Ender home with Dad since I knew keeping up with Kyri would take all of my attention!
We had a wonderful time meeting lots of new people. This was the first get together of the San Antonio Vegans we have gone to, and we loved meeting everyone. After a ridiculous meal (seriously, there was just so much good food to share, I wasn’t able to try everything…) Brooke took us out to meet all the animals.
One thing I have to say about Brooke – you can tell immediately she has a heart for farm animal rescue. You have to, I think, to do this everyday. But she is a kind spirit, and you can see her love for the animals when she introduces them and tells their stories of what they suffered before coming to Sunny Day Farms.
There were so many sad stories of how these animals ended up and Sunny Day Farms, but they all ended well because they are now safe and well cared for. Many animals are rehabilitated and adopted out – though of course Brooke has strict criteria for potential adopters. But this allows for more animals to be rescued and brought to Sunny Day Farms.
Our first “resident” we met was Niall, a horse that had been tied to a car door, unable to reach food. He scalped himself when he finally ripped off his harness to get to nearby food. We were told he was somewhat wary of people as a result of his experiences, but Kyri didn’t see any evidence of this. I couldn’t keep her away from him – she was stuffing him full of carrots! Truthfully, he didn’t seem to mind her attention all that much.
Kyri was so delighted when we went into the first goat pen. She was mingling with them, petting them, feeding them grass. We met a somewhat shy pot-bellied pig, who we found out hhad been found roaming in downtown San Antonio, mange-covered and with wounds from an apparent dog attack. He came to Sunny Day Farms, and adopted on of the goats as his mother. She didn’t seem to mind and has apparently taken her new role seriously. They are inseparable!
The second goat pen told a sad story. These were more recent rescues. They were seized as part of a cruelty case when they were found living in horrific conditions (not local, near Waco I think?), in pens that had decomposing bodies of goats and sheep. I’ve seen some of the pictures from this particular case and my heart just hurts for what these poor animals have gone through. Several of these animals that are now at Sunny Day Farms are currently pregnant.
I love horses, but don’t spend any time with them because I have horse allergies. But my heart melted when I met Jackson. He is completely bind, with scars on his face near his eyes. His head has a funny tilt and he looks like he is staring into space. You can’t just hold out a treat for him since he can’t see it, so instead you must place your offering right under his mouth. Kyri fed him carrots this way and she was delighted! I actually spent a little time with him as well, trying to minimize physical contact but loving on him and giving him carrots.
I really believe that allowing our children to interact with farm animals, especially those that come from rescue situations, teaches empathy and gives them something tangible to relate their veganism to. As in, this is a real chicken, and this is why we don’t eat them. I wonder how many omni-raised children (oradults for that matter) would feel differently about their eating habits if they could connect the food they eat to the cuddly animal on the farm who has a personality and a drive to live.
It was such a rewarding experience to meet Brooke and all the animals at Sunny Day Farms. New animals are constanty being rescued and rehabiliated at Sunny Farms. Please take a moment to check out their Facebook Page and consider visiting soon to meet the residents!